At the meeting with Gustav the road warden in the back room of the One Eyed Crow tavern, a surprise guest strolled through the door. Anferny had returned! As long parted friends embraced and quickly caught up, the meeting turned to the matters at hand. With Gustav's and Anferny's insight, it was determined that the harbor master Grey Horn may have had some type of hide out in the shanty district of Dolmvay. Perhaps investigating this would lead to more information on the Society of the Golden Axe, as the harbor masters quarters revealed no leads or proof of his involvement in that shadowy organization.
The party set out towards the slums, with Dinkle the halfling following behind. The recent entanglements with the thieves guild had the party on edge, and worried about ambushes. Their caution was rewarded as the keen eyes of the pirate picked out a beggar who was most assuredly following the main group. Anferny and Dinkle made eye contact signaling to the rest that they were being tailed. The party decided to move into an dim back alley and perhaps shake off or confront their pursuer.
Halfway in the alley they run into an interesting gathering. Two poor folk from the slums talking with a man dressed in studded leather and face covered in a mask. Two war dogs were leashed at his hand. As the party approached, the two ragged figures ran off, while the masked man turned to confront the party. Parley was attempted, however the man pointed at Ellinora the elf and said "You elf! You're on my docket. Come with me or there will be trouble". The war dogs strained on their leashes and all further attempts at talking were done. Battle was joined, and the man was defeated, however Captain Abner was viciously bitten in the neck and knocked down by one of the dogs.
Meanwhile at the mouth of the alley, the beggar who had been following the party was being shadowed by Dinkle. The man was peeking around the corner into the alley watching the fight. The halfling moved in from behind while Anferny snuck towards the mouth of the dim street with rope in hand. The beggar was subdued with some nice rope work and a distraction from Dinkle.
William the beggar was cowed into revealing he was in fact spying for the thieves guild. Not much more information was gained and he was shackled and brought along to where the harbor masters hideout was thought to be.
Gaining entrance to a hidden door within an old ruined building, the party found themselves descending into an area of sewers and an old buried portion of the city. Meeting some resistance in an old half uncovered building below, the guards were human and bore the mark of the Golden Axe. They had also seemingly been shooting many giant rats, as their corpses were all around the passageway and the building.
Moving along under the city, they were forced to walk down a sewage canal with a two foot ledge on one side. After seemingly taking a wrong turn and returning back the way they had come, the party found another open area lit by a single torch, with several ancient buildings half uncovered. Also found were some maintenance items fallen into disrepair. Moving away from the canal they found the building to be empty, but a passage way led away from the area. Following this into a new room half covered in a pool of water. Two giant toads ambushed the party from its depths, but were dealt with easily.
Further exploration resulted in an ambush. Aferny was scouting ahead when something stung him on the back of the neck. Looking up, a large caterpillar like creature with 8 tentacles protruding from around its maw was leaning down from the ceiling. Feeling a bit woozy but still mobile, he beat feet back towards the party, and the paladin Edgar led the charge towards the thing. Unfortunately there were actually two of these creatures, and in the end all but 4 of the party were paralyzed by the carrion crawlers. A situation at the rear of the party occurred as well. William the captured beggar was given a dagger by Edgar's squire Tarran, the young man seeing a possible disaster with half the party paralyzed by the crawlers. Giving the beggar the dagger as a possible last ditch effort to defend himself. The man William took the opportunity to try and kill Tarran, but the plate mail he wore deflected the blow. Terran shot the beggar point blank with his heavy crossbow and ended his life.
After resting until the paralyzed party members were mobile again, they came once more to the sewer canal and followed it again until torchlight was again spied up ahead from a side passage. A trip wire was triggered, and a crashing noise heard in the distance. The party moved up and entered the passage way finding a large cavern that may have once been part of a city square. Several buildings and part of the street were teeming with agents of the Golden Axe, and a battle was joined. During the fight, party members went down from a sleep spell, and two were knocked unconscious from a large barbarian like man wielding a huge war axe. Quick healing and a quick hold person spell cast on an elf hiding on a balcony saved the day. An insane halfling throwing hand axes was also killed, but not before he had slain the road warden, Gustav.
The elf was bound and interrogated, and a large pile of burning wood and paper was extinguished. Found in the burning pile were some half burned documents linking the Grey Horn the harbor master to the Golden Axe. In a chest of gold, a false top was found and inside was a map seemingly showing a ruined monastery, possibly the base of operations of the evil group if the captured elf can be believed.
Leaving to head back to the stairs and climb out of the depths, the group soon heard some squeaking, and then what was a roar of squeaks. Hundreds of red eyes appeared in the edge of the groups light, swimming and crawling down the passageway. Rats! Tons of rats! Retreating after laying down a flaming oil screen, the party was soon lost in the sewers, having to wade through waist deep filth quickly just to stay ahead of the rat horde. Passing a giant hole, where a sewage waterfall dropped to the depths below, they came upon a ledge and a stairway. Following this stair was a boon as everyone was covered in vile filth, except the halfling Dinkle, who had ridden on the shoulders of another party member.
The stairs went upwards and then back downwards again, and turned into a corridor of stone. The passage opened up into a large cavern with a slightly sticky slick substance covering the floor. Rat dung! Several large rock outcroppings were scattered about, just visible in the light. Entering, a pair of small red eyes appeared, and then another. Soon many more were at the edge of the light, and a loud inhuman wail was heard. Out of the darkness sprang several dozen 3 foot long rats, followed by a wailing abomination. 8 feet long, rat like with patchy mangy fur and a spiked tail. The beast lumbered forward and let out a putrid stream of stomach acid covering some of the party and rats alike. After a fierce battle, it was killed and the remaining rats seemed to retreat to many small holes all over the room.
A search of the room found the giant things lair, and a small pipe instrument was found. Also, discovered in the ceiling 20 feet above looked to be some sort of metal trap door. After climbing up the wall, Anferny could not seem to find a way through the metal portal. It was engraved in runes and seemed impervious to opening, smooth metal with no lock or handle. Quickly thinking, a rubbing of the patterns were made from some parchment and charcoal. Perhaps more could be found out later by a sage or wizard.
Returning back to the sewer canal, the party made there way around and found another way to return to the stairs and the relative safety of the city.
Turning the documentation over to the Dolmvay authorities, some investigation and questions about "magic doors" led you to Martigan's Rest. This bright building is the gathering place of Wizards, scribes, Alchemists and other bookish and magically inclined individuals. The party met Martigan, a middle age woman of plain appearance, and the proprietress of the establishment. She was shown the rubbings of the strange metal portal, and thought she may remember something about an old wizards tower, lost and buried over the years in the Shanty district. She advised you to return later, and perhaps she would have more information.